Beans have long developed a reputation of being a gassy side-dish at dinner; the biggest culprit being the ever-avoided three-bean salad. However, people are increasingly being reintroduced to this powerhouse of nutrients and more recipes featuring the bean-underdog are being written.
Before you dismiss the humble bean one more time, why not take a look at the vitamins, minerals and proteins packed inside beans? This blog post is all about celebrating the affordable, versatile and health packed bean. Hopefully, by the end of this post, more people will be trying their hand at a recipe celebrating the bean.
Beans are nutrient powerhouses and are easy to incorporate into the diet. Commonly consumed beans include kidney beans, soybeans, black beans, peas, peanuts and lentils. They are easily available in grocery stores – dried and measured by weight. Beans can be soaked overnight and then pressure cooked until they after soft before they can be consumed. Soaking the beans removes anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, making them more digestible. Lentils (depending on the variety) can be soaked for an hour and above before they are cooked and consumed.
There are several health benefits of eating beans and lentils, which are often overlooked. They are a great source of fibre as both the flesh and the skin contain high amounts of fibre. Beans maintain their shape after cooking and hence remain high in fibre. The fibre and starches in beans also make them a very filling food – keeping people satiated longer after consuming them.
Proteins play an important role in the human body and play a key role in almost all bodily functions. Proteins contain high amounts of amino acids; which are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins can be divided into two categories – complete and incomplete proteins. Soybeans contain all 9 amino acids – making it a complete protein. All other beans can be combined with other sources of amino acids; such as rice, fruits and vegetables to provide complete proteins.
Beans are also nutrient-dense foods and are especially high in folate. Dried beans contain almost double the amount of folate as compared to canned beans. Hence, it is better to cook the beans from their dried form than to buy canned beans. Other nutrients found in beans include iron, zinc and magnesium. Consumption of beans has also been linked to a reduction in blood sugar and cholesterol as well.